Committee calls for grants to be made available at private colleges

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on October 7th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Hundreds of students from less well-off families who attend private third-level colleges in Ireland should be entitled to grants, an Oireachtas committee has recommended. Unlike the rest of the higher education sector, students at private colleges – such as Griffith College and Dublin Business School – are not entitled to grant support, even though these courses are approved by the State’s education quality watchdog, Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 7 October]

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Legislative Process: Progress of Bills

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on September 19th, 2017 by steve

IrelandJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour): To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding his department’s work on the General Scheme of Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Amendment) Bill 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter …
Joan Burton (Dublin West, Labour): To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the Technological Universities Bill 2015; the timeframe for it to return to Dáil Éireann; his planned changes to the draft legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter …” (more)

[Dáil written answers, 11 September]

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Bruton must provide an urgent update on QQI report – Byrne

Posted in Governance and administration on May 15th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education and Skills Thomas Byrne TD is to seek an urgent update from Minister Richard Bruton following a damning report about employee, management and operational structures at Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI). A review relating to QQI’s internal operations, which was commissioned by the Department of Education and Skills, found the state agency’s structure was not fit for purpose …” (more)

[Fianna Fáil, 15 May]

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Bruton Announces New Powers for the Higher and Further Education Regulator

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on May 15th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“New Bill to Tackle Academic Cheating, Establish an International Education Mark. Institutes of Technology to Have Greater Autonomy in Awarding Bachelors and Masters Degrees. The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, TD, has today (Monday) announced that the Government have approved the draft outline of a law which will provide new powers to the Higher and Further Education Regulator, QQI, to improve the quality of our education system …” (more)

[Department of Education and Skills, 15 May]

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Plan to prosecute firms who offer paid-for essays to students

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on March 13th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The Department of Education is planning to introduce laws to prosecute ‘essay mill’ companies who offer to write students’ assignments in exchange for money. The move is a response to mounting concern over the practice which allows students to circumvent their college’s plagiarism detection systems …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 12 March]

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Legislation Programme for Spring/Summer Session 2017 – 3rd level

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on January 17th, 2017 by steve

IrelandThe Legislation Programme for the Spring/Summer Session is now published. None of the priority legislation relates directly to third level. Other legislation mentioned is:

Bills that are expected to undergo Pre-Legislative Scrutiny: Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Amendment) Bill. ‘To amend the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012 to address some issues that have arisen regarding the scope of QQI’s responsibilities in relation to recognition of awards and regulation of private and voluntary providers, to ensure adequate protection of enrolled learners where providers discontinue a programme, and to give greater authority to Institutes of Technology to award Level 9 qualifications.’ Heads are currently being drafted – no date given for scrutiny to commence.

Bills already on Dáil Order Paper: Technological Universities Bill 2015. Currently awaiting Committee stage. Given the broad degree of consensus that would be needed to pass this, and the opposition from various quarters, it seems unlikely to proceed further at any time soon.

Other Legislation: (1) Higher Education (Reform) Bill. ‘To modernise the legislative framework underpinning the governance and functions of the Higher Education Authority and the governance structures of the universities.’ Heads are currently being drafted. This is largely a matter of updating the HEA’s governing legislation, and perhaps tinkering with universities’ governing bodies – not a priority on anyone’s list, I would imagine.

Other Legislation: (2) Universities (Amendment) Bill. ‘To ensure compliance with government guidelines on remuneration, allowances, pensions and staffing numbers in the University sector.’ Heads approved in October 2012, drafting is underway. This bill serves largely as a scarecrow meant to terrify universities that might be tempted to flout existing controls – a role it can perform perfectly well without being on the statute book. Again, it’s hard to see why anyone would be in a hurry to spend legislative time on actually enacting it.

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Submission of Consultation Paper on behalf of ‘Wake Up SUSI’ third-level students’ campaign as requested by Richard Bruton TD Minister for Education and Skills

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Governance and administration on June 9th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“The Wake Up SUSI campaign represents over 200 students from middle to low income families who are attending QQI approved private colleges; and are denied access to student funding and SUSI grants. All they want is the same state support as other third-level students. They are not looking for funding for their institutions. The campaign has raised over 1,800 petitions – engaged with over 30 TDs which resulted in 10 written parliamentary questions …” (more)

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Higher Education: Legislation Programme for the Current Session

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on June 8th, 2016 by steve

IrelandThe Government has now published its Legislation Programme: Current Session (here), with very few surprises after the Organisation and Current Issues document of barely a month ago (here), as discussed in Eoin O’Dell’s blog. As was already public, the Technological Universities Bill (debated before the election) has now been restored to the order paper; presumably the plan is to push on with it much as before, though the need to placate some independent TDs (notably John Halligan of Waterford) may lead to a re-think of its most controversial aspect – that ITs can only upgrade to Technological Universities if they have first undergone a merger. In practical terms this means that the TU4Dublin (Dublin IT, IT Blanchardstown, IT Tallaght) will very probably appear quite soon, though all else is still to be fought over.

That aside, there is no 3rd-level-specific legislation on the ‘urgent’ list; none has been labelled ‘Priority Legislation for Publication This Session’.  Other proposals are mentioned but are still bubbling under, and are evidently not regarded as compelling for now:

  • Higher Education (Reform) Bill: To modernise the legislative framework underpinning the governance and functions of the Higher Education Authority and the governance structures of the universities. Status: ‘Heads are currently being drafted’.
  • Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Amendment) Bill: To amend the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012 to address some issues that have arisen regarding the scope of QQI’s responsibilities in relation to recognition of awards and regulation of private and voluntary providers, to ensure adequate protection of enrolled learners where providers discontinue a programme, and to give greater authority to Institutes of Technology to award Level 9 qualifications. Status: ‘Work is underway in Department’.
  • Universities (Amendment) Bill: To ensure compliance with government guidelines on remuneration, allowances, pensions and staffing numbers in the University sector. ‘Heads approved in October 2012. Drafting underway’. (This last has been hanging around for some years now without being progressed; I remain of the view that its only function is as a scarecrow for universities tempted to breach financial guidelines, and that there is no serious plan to enact it.)

Onwards and upwards …

The Blogmeister

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‘Crisis Point’ of Third-Level May Have ‘Serious and Irretrievable Implications’, says Report

Posted in Governance and administration on April 13th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“The ‘cumulative effects’ of reduced funding, reduced staffing numbers and increased teaching burdens mean that many third-level institutions are at ‘crisis point’, a national report has concluded …” (more)

[Edmund Heaphy, University Times, 23 April]

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Third-level courses at ‘crisis point’ due to cuts, report says

Posted in Governance and administration on April 12th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Spending cuts have pushed some third-level college courses to ‘crisis point’, with serious implications for their future sustainability, according to a new report. Quality in an Era of Diminishing Resources was commissioned by the State body responsible for quality assurance in higher education …” (more)

[The report is here]
[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 12 April]

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Third-level departments at ‘crisis point’

Posted in Governance and administration on April 12th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Seven years of education cuts have reduced some departments in third-level colleges to ‘crisis point’, according to a new analysis. While staff and colleges have worked to minimise the impact of cuts on students, ‘it is very clear that this commitment and resilience is not sustainable in the long term’ …” (more)

[The report is here]
[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 12 April]

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To do how much more with how much less? A review of the QQI review

Posted in Governance and administration on April 4th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Recently, the QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland) published a report entitled ‘Quality in an era of diminishing resources’, which was commissioned to provide a thematic overview of the commentary in institution-led quality review reports on the impact of the reduction in funding to institutions on the quality of learning and teaching in the Irish higher education system over the seven-year period from 2008-2015 …” (more)

[Research on Higher Education in Ireland, 4 April]

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The Savage Consequences of Repeating an Exam in an Award Year

Posted in Teaching on September 9th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“Yesterday I wrote about my experiences in repeating exams in both my first and second years in Trinity back in 1979 and 1980 – a difficult time, but I also learned a massive amount from the experience. I went on to pass my third and fourth years, and to graduate with an honours degree …” (more)

[Careful With That Axe, Eugene, 9 September]

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TUI response to publication of Kelly report

Posted in Governance and administration on July 29th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“TUI is opposed to the forced merger of Carlow IT and Waterford Institute of Technology. Annette Dolan Deputy General Secretary Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) in responding to the publication of Michael Kelly’s ‘Engagement and Consultation Process for a Technological University for the South-East’ report, stated …” (more)

[Teachers’ Union of Ireland, 29 July]

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English language schools to be obliged to provide student ‘insurance’

Posted in Governance and administration on May 20th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“English language schools will be compelled to put in place a learner protection scheme to compensate students for future closures under planned new regulations for the sector, The Irish Times has learned …” (more)

[Joe Humphreys, Irish Times, 20 May]

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Most employers demand 2.1 degree of applicants – survey

Posted in Life on May 13th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“Some 70% of employers expect at least a 2.1 degree from job applicants, a major new survey shows. The study, published on Wednesday by the Department of Education and Skills, found the grade students achieved in their degree was the biggest determinant of whether they were called for a job interview …” (more)

[Joe Humphreys, Irish Times, 13 May]

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Protesting language students march to Dáil

Posted in Governance and administration on May 6th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“Hundreds of foreign students who lost thousands of euro when their English-language colleges closed have demanded more regulation of the sector at a protest outside the Dáil …” (more)

[Adam Cullen, Independent, 6 May]

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English language students march in Dublin city centre

Posted in Governance and administration on May 5th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“A group of English language students affected by the recent closure of a number of English language schools in Ireland are protesting in Dublin …” (more)

[Sorcha Pollak, Irish Times, 5 May]

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Private colleges lodge complaint over ‘unfair practices’

Posted in Legal issues on April 1st, 2015 by steve

Ireland“A new group representing private colleges has lodged a formal complaint against State bodies for alleged ‘unfair and anti-competitive practices’ in regard to English language education courses. The Private College Network (PCN) chairman David Russell said it was bringing a case on behalf of its members to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission …” (more)

[Rachel Flaherty, Irish Times, 31 March]

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State may face damages claim over English language school register

Posted in Legal issues on January 16th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“The State may face a claim for damages from English language schools which failed to secure accreditation under a new register after the High Court ruled it had acted beyond its powers in setting up the scheme ..” (more)

[Joe Humphreys, Irish Times, 15 January]

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